Parents of children newly diagnosed with cancer: anxiety, coping, and marital distress

J Pediatr Psychol. 1993 Jun;18(3):365-76. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/18.3.365.


Evaluated anxiety, approach-avoidance coping style, and marital distress in 134 parents of children with cancer shortly after diagnosis. Of the 67 marital pairs studied, approximately 25% of the mothers and 28% of the fathers reported significant marital distress. Regression analyses revealed that marital distress was predicted by a combination of general emotional distress, the discrepancy between the couple's state anxiety levels, and the couple's use of sensitizing coping strategies. Greater differences in anxiety levels between the parents and greater stimulus approach coping activity in the marriage were associated with greater reported marital distress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales